Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni
Premium Journalist
3 minute read
26 Sep 2017
5:00 am

Could Ramaphosa usher in a new ANC?

Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni

Bheki Cele agrees that, should Ramaphosa not succeed president Jacob Zuma in December, there will be chaos.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa speaks with union representatives at the 6th Central Comittee of Cosatu at St George's Hotel in Centurion on 30 May 2017. Ramaphosa discussed the role of the union in the alliance as and received strong support from attendees. Picture: Yeshiel

Could a Ramaphosa presidency present an alternative ANC?

This was the question Wits School of Governance political analyst Professor Susan Booysen said arose from public statements made by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s potential allies this weekend.

While Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu – who has reportedly been earmarked as Ramaphosa’s deputy – ripped ANC members accused of corruption to shreds in a speech at a Heritage Day event, NEC member of the ANC Bheki Cele echoed party secretary-general Gwede Mantashe’s sentiment that, should Ramaphosa not succeed President Jacob Zuma in December, there would be chaos.

“These developments are very important in the profiling of the different campaigns,” said Booysen.

“Even if there is still a bit of hesitating, there is definitely more of them than in the past trying to go into that space of positioning an alternative ANC, because that’s the debate everyone is on right now. Is there an alternative ANC or is Zuma’s ANC the only one that exists?”

Ramaphosa’s calls for action against corrupt ANC members were repeated by those seen to be in his camp.

ANC national executive committee member Enoch Godongwana agreed with Sisulu’s sentiments that the ANC needed to be rescued from an ethical leadership crisis.

“If the ANC is so compromised that it can’t deal with obvious things, such as the Gupta e-mails, then it really needs rescuing and I would also agree that the conference must not be about leadership only.

“We need to look at the things that will rescue the ANC and bring back its value system and how we are going to deal with the crisis in our economy. Then we need to look at what kind of leadership we need to achieve such a vision.

“We must focus our attention on structural reforms that will boost the economy,” she said. Booysen questioned whether Zuma’s ANC was the only one in existence.

“There is a chance that the party can be rescued by an alternative ANC, but that still needs to be brought to life; it needs to be rescued because it is completely overwhelmed by Zuma’s ANC to the extent that to imagine Cyril or anyone else, this alternative ANC is just a figment of their imagination or one that does or can exist in the real world.”

Sisulu’s speech yesterday at the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation’s gala event was peppered with calls to action against those named in the leaked Gupta e-mails.

She said she would write a letter to ANC disciplinary committee chairperson Derek Hanekom, asking him why it had not moved against ANC officials named in the scandal.

“Sisulu is an old person of the ANC and she knows what she needs to do in order for a disciplinary to take place, she doesn’t need a journalist for that,” said Mantashe yesterday.

He said her call for a new vision in the ANC in the lead-up to the elective conference in December was probably just campaigning for votes.

“She wants to be president, so that is her own vision that she has … she is outlining for the ANC on the basis that people will vote for her.”

Sisulu was candid, saying struggle heroes in the ruling party had abandoned the vision of their forebears.

“We know as a matter of historical record there are many freedom fighters who have turned against the very same lofty ideals that propelled and helped get their people out of poverty [and] liberate them. The question facing all of us … is whether it is too late to self-correct?”

She said the upcoming elective conference was an opportunity to rescue the ANC, which she described as having fallen to the “bottom of the abyss”. –